TRURO, NS– As workers and employers across the province prepare to mark the International Day of Mourning for workers killed and injured on the job, the president of CUPE Nova Scotia says, “One workplace death is one too many”.
Danny Cavanagh says April 28th has been set aside each year as a day of remembrance. “It was a Canadian union, CUPE, that came up with the idea back in 1984. This day is now commemorated around the world.”
In 1991, the federal government passed legislation declaring each April 28 as a Day of Remembrance for workers killed or injured at work. Says Cavanagh, “We are proud that this has now spread to nearly 100 countries in the world.” Cavanagh adds, however, “We still have a lot of work to do in Nova Scotia. We had 23 workers killed on the job last year. When we have 62% of workers in the Atlantic provinces who believe they will get hurt at work, that is a real signal to governments to do something. All accidents are preventable,” says Cavanagh.
“We need better and stronger legislation and we need more enforcement officers to hold employers accountable for worker safety. We need a legal system where stronger penalties are handed out to employers,” says Cavanagh. Cavanagh says, “I don’t believe many workplace health and safety committees are actually working like they should. Employees are often intimidated by employer representatives on those committees, and that has to change.”
Danny Cavanagh, President, CUPE Nova Scotia, (902) 957-0822 (Cell)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Representative, (902) 455-4180 (o)